Who Selected “Barfi” as Indian Entry for Oscars?
While the director Anurag Basu expects his fans to pray for Barfi’s success at the coveted Oscars (He tweeted, “”Thank you (very) much!!! ‘Lekin abhi Delhi door hai!!’ Pray for us!!”), cyberspace is abuzz with the debate whether Basu’s obvious inspiration crosses the dotted lines of plagiarism.
Sources tell us that the selection of Barfi wasn’t unanimous. Three members of the jury were dead against it.
The Film Federation of India (FFI), the body responsible for the selection of Indian contender to the Oscars refused to reveal the names of the jury members. All we got to know is that the jury was headed by Assamese filmmaker Manju Bora.
Here is a brief introduction of Manju Bora:
Manju made her first feature film ‘Baibhab’ (1999). The film was awarded ‘Jury’s Special Mention’ in 47th National Film Festival 2000 and Best film in Asia at the 6th Dhaka International Film Festival, 2000 apart from receiving Gollapudi Srinivas Award for Best Debut Director in Chennai in 1999. “Baibhab” was followed by films like ‘Anya Ek Yatra’ (2001), ‘Akashitarar Kathare (2002)’.
“Akashitora” won her the National award for ‘Best Regional Feature Film’ and State award for ‘Best Director’ along with the Audience Award’ at the Dhaka International Film Festival in 2004. The film also received the National award for Best Female Playback Singer. Manju’s other films ‘Laaz’ (2004) and ‘Joymati’ (2006) were selected for Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India.
Manju holds responsible positions at different cine organizations. To name a few, she is the Chairperson of ‘Joint Advisory Committee Eastern India Motion Picture Association (EIMPA) and also a member of the script panel of National Film Development Corporation Limited (NFDC), Non-official member of General Body Jyoti Chitraban (Film Studio) Society, Working President of Cine Art Society Assam and served as Non-official Member of Programme Advisory Committee All India Radio and Doordarshan Kendra Guwahati. (information compiled from this website)
Sources tell us that the jury was territorially balanced as it had members from all corners of the country. However, the only other name we could find out was that of Sandeep Sawant, Marathi filmmaker whose “Shwas” was the official Indian entry to 2004 Academy Awards.
FFI is the apex body for film trade in India, mostly headed by film producers. The current chairman is Vinod K. Lamba. Previous presidents of FFI have been T. P. Aggarwal and L. Suresh.
We googled and browsed through IMDb and Wikipedia in vain to know more about the president, however, what came to our rescue was surprisingly Facebook. Here is Mr. Lamba’s introduction in his (probably) own words:-
“Have been awarded best ROTARY president FOR ROTARY midwest. HONY.GEN.SECT MOTION PICTURES ASSOCIATION,DELHI;FILM FEDERATION OF INDIA,MUMBAI F;D.C HONY.G.secretary Our Shri C.L. company SELECT PICTURES is in existence since 1957 created by my father. After his sudden accidental death in 1967 I have been managing for over 44years.Had a very big Chain of Cinemas. Hold Negative/CopyRights of number of films. Had release award winning films like ANOKHI RAAT,ANUPAMA GHARAONDA etc.”
So, do you think selection of Indian Entry for the Oscars is in the right hands? Join the debate and leave your comments below.